Roshan Ara Begum - Classic Stuff!

Oh wow, those days of the rainbow when we used to read and listen to Nasir Kazmi’s ghazals, literally, day and night. And why not! We had singers here, like Amanat Ali Khan, Mehdi Hasan, Farida Khanum, Ghulam Ali, Iqbal Bano, Shaukat Ali, and Parvez Mehdi. They knew how to sing those brilliant verses.

But, the one that made my father sway to the tune and rendition, and I followed him throughout the song, was Malka-e-Moseequi, Roshan Ara Begum’s brilliant composition of Nasir’s beautiful romantic ghazal, Aaina le ke saba phir aai. What a melody! You can’t beat that! First that concentrated, though smaller voice that hit you like a rose branch. The music that gifted you an imagination like fragrance! Aaina le ke is one of Nasir Kazmi’s best. And Roshan Ara sang it to perfection.

There are a very few classical singers who can do justice to ghazals. Their immense repertoire is too complex to adjust to ghazal-singing. But, Ustad Fateh Ali Khan and Roshan Ara Begum were exceptions.

Her death anniversary fell on December 6. I remember, a classical music teacher, Bashir Khan, was once arguing with me about women’s prowess as shudh classical singers. I reminded him about Malka-e-Moseequi. He snorted under breath, and looked up and smiled at me, and said, “Woh koi aurat thora hi thee! She was something exceptional!”